By Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — The Washington Nationals coughed up a five-run lead, but against the Atlanta Braves it didn’t end up mattering.
Clint Robinson singled in the tie-breaking run with two outs in the ninth inning and the Nationals won 7-6 Friday night for their 10th victory in 11 games against the Braves.
“I got a little older tonight in that game. I’m just glad that we won,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Wilson Ramos had a single off Jim Johnson and Anthony Rendon, who had made a costly error an inning earlier, walked to bring up Robinson.
Robinson, robbed a home run in the fifth inning, went the other way through the left side of the infield off Johnson (2-6) for his second hit of the game to go with two walks and the Braves lost their sixth straight despite the comeback effort.
“Big Clint came through with a clutch, clutch hit,” Baker said.
Mark Melancon pitched around an infield single by Dansby Swanson for his fifth save with the Nationals and 35th overall.
“First they tried to give it to us, then we tried to give it back,” Baker said. “Our usual sure-handed guys had a tough eighth inning.”
The Braves scored three times in the eighth inning to tie the game, with just one of the runs earned thanks to Nationals errors by third baseman Rendon and shortstop Danny Espinosa.
“That was a great rally,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “I thought we were going to pull it off. To get down like that and come roaring back, it was outstanding.”
Freddie Freeman, robbed of a home run earlier in the game, tied it with a two-run double off eventual winner Koda Glover (1-0). The only other hit in the inning was a double by Swanson, playing his third major league game.
Nationals starter Tanner Roark allowed just four hits in 6 1/3 innings, but one was a two-run homer by Ender Inciarte and another a bases-empty blast by Nick Markakis.
Nationals rookie Trea Turner, batting .324, had a double among his three hits, scored twice and drove in a run while improving to 11-for-22 against the Braves this season.
Denard Span had two hits for the Nationals and made the homer-saving catch against Freeman in the fourth inning.
Jayson Werth went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts to end his on-base streak at 46 games — tied for the Montreal/Washington franchise record.
Julio Teheran came off the Braves’ disabled list to pitch for the first time since July 30 and allowed three runs and six hits in five innings while striking out five and walking three while returning from a right lat strain.
“I thought he got better as the game went, loosened up, started trusting things and battled well,” Snitker said. “I would have liked to have been able to run him back out there, but after the stress he had to get out of that fifth inning, I thought that was good enough. We kind of had 90 (pitches) in the back of our minds for this start. He felt good, and that’s great.”
By the time Inciarte followed a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Jace Peterson with his third homer of the season in the sixth inning, the Nationals were up 5-0 thanks to two runs off Madison Younginer in the top of the inning.
There were three hits, a walk and a throwing error by Swanson in the inning, with the only RBI coming on Turner’s ground out.
Markakis’ ninth homer of the year — a no-doubter on a 3-2 pitch — came on Roark’s 103rd and final pitch with one out in the seventh.
The Nationals scored an unearned run in the eighth inning thanks to a throwing error by Gordon Beckham, but then the Braves came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning.
Turner pulled Teheran’s third pitch of the game down the left-field line for a double. He then moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Revere and scored on Bryce Harper’s grounder to give the Nationals a quick lead.
The Braves would have tied it in the fourth inning except for the defensive heroics of Revere, the Nationals’ 5-foot-9 center fielder. Revere, on the dead run, leaped at the fence in right-center field and snatched back Freeman’s home run bid.
“I saw it in a still (photo) and he needs to get that framed. It was some catch,” Baker said.
The Nationals padded their lead with two runs in the fifth despite Markakis reaching up to take a homer away from Robinson leading off. There were three straight two-out hits in the inning, with Revere and Harper picking up RBIs. Revere’s hit was an infield single and Harper’s went off the glove of diving Swanson in shallow left field.
NOTES: Team vice chairman John Schuerholz and CF Andruw Jones were inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame, bringing the number of honorees to 31. … 2B/1B Daniel Murphy, leading the National League with a .344 average, was out of the Nationals lineup for a day off. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman (wrist) and C Jose Lobaton (elbow) worked out with the Nationals after completing three-game rehab assignments, but neither will be activated before Saturday. … The Braves placed LHP Eric O’Flaherty, who has a 1-4 record and 6.91 ERA in 39 relief appearances, on the disabled list because of left elbow neuritis. … RHP Max Scherzer (12-7, 2.95 ERA) will start for the Nationals on Saturday against Braves rookie RHP Tyrell Jenkins (2-3, 4.89). … The Nationals acquired LHP Sean Burnett from Minnesota for cash considerations and assigned the veteran reliever to Triple-A Syracuse.